In 1923, the railways of Britain were ‘grouped’ into the so-called ‘Big Four’. Consequently, all three members of the East Coast Joint Stock became part of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway.
It was the London and North Eastern which, in 1924, officially renamed the 10:00 Special Scotch Express linking Edinburgh and London in both directions as the Flying Scotsman, its unofficial name since the 1870s. To further publicise the train, a recently-built Gresley A1 Class locomotive was named after the train, and put on display at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. Due to a long-standing agreement between the competing West and East coast routes since the famous railway races of 1888 and 1895, speeds of the Scotch expresses were limited, the time for the 392 miles (631 km) between the capitals being a pedestrian 8 hours 15 minutes. However, following valve gear modifications, the A1 locomotive’s coal consumption was drastically reduced and it was thus found possible to run the service non-stop with a heavy train on one tender full of coal. Ten locomotives of classes A1 and A3, which were to be used on the service, were provided with corridor tenders; these avoided engine crew fatigue by enabling a replacement driver and fireman to take over halfway without stopping the train. The A1 class locomotive number 4472, “Flying Scotsman” was used to haul the inaugural train from London on 1 May 1928, and it successfully ran the 392 miles between Edinburgh and London without stopping, a record at the time for a scheduled service (although the London Midland and Scottish Railway had four days earlier staged a one-off publicity coup by running the “Royal Scot’s” Edinburgh section non-stop from Euston – 399.7 miles). The 1928 non-stop Flying Scotsman had improved catering and other on-board services – even a barber’s shop.1 With the end of the limited speed agreement in 1932, journey time came down to 7 hours 30 minutes, and by 1938 to 7 hours 20 minutes. The Flying Scotsman ceased to be a non-stop train, calling at Newcastle upon Tyne, York and Peterborough in the British Rail era. In 1962 the Deltic diesel locomotives took over.